The annoyance factor for individual users whose email is crammed with pitches for pornography, absurd moneymaking schemes, and dubious health products is fierce. But for organizations, the cost of spam in lost productivity and burned bandwidth is astronomical. While society is grappling with a solution to the burgeoning crisis of spam proliferation, the pressure is on system administrators to find a solution to this massive problem in-house. And fast.Sys admins can field scores of complaints and spend months testing software suites that turn out to be too aggressive, too passive, or too complicated to setup only to discover that SpamAssassin (SA), the leading open source spam-fighting tool, is free, flexible, powerful, highly-regarded, and remarkably effective. The drawback? SpamAssassin's lack of published documentation.SpamAssassin by Alan Schwartz, is the only published resource devoted to SpamAssassin and how to integrate it effectively into your networks. This clear, concise guide clarifies the installation, configuration, and use of the SpamAssassin spam-checking system (versions 2.63 and 3.0) for Unix system administrators using the Postfix, Sendmail, Exim, or qmail mail servers, helping administrators make the right integration decision for their particular environments.It covers concrete advice on how to:
Customize SpamAssassin's rules, and even create new ones Train SpamAssassin's Bayesian classifier, a statistical engine for detecting spam, to optimize it for the sort of email that you typically receive
Block specific addresses, hosts, and domains using third-party blacklists like the one maintained by Spamcop.net.
Whitelist known good sources of email, so that messages from clients, coworkers, and friends aren't inadvertently lost.
Configure SpamAssassin to work with newer spam-filtering methods such as Hashcash (www.hashcash.org) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF).
Sys admins, network administrators, and ISPs pay for spam with hours of experimentation and tedious junk email management, frayed user tempers, and their sanity. SpamAssassin, together with this essential book, give you the tools you need to take back your organization's inboxes."Detailed, accurate and informative--recommended for spam-filtering beginners and experts alike." --Justin Mason, SpamAssassin development team
Alan Schwartz, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of clinical decision making in the Departments of Medical Education and Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also the author of Managing Mailing Lists and the coauthor of Stopping Spam (both from O'Reilly). He serves as a consultant on Unix system administration for several ISPs. In his spare time, he develops and maintains the PennMUSH MUD server and brews beer and mead with his wife, with whom he also develops and maintains their son. Turn-ons for Alan include sailing, programming in Perl, playing duplicate bridge, and drinking Anchor Porter. Turn-offs include spam and watery American lagers.
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The animal on the cover of SpamAssassin is a King vulture. King vultures (Sarcoramphus papa) are found in tropical lowland forests from Mexico to Argentina. Vultures serve a useful purpose in disposing of dead and decaying animal remains.Their extremely thick and strong bills are well adapted for tearing, as are their long, thick claws for holding meat. King vultures have a very heavy beak, a necessary asset for tearing into large, thick-skinned animals. The absence of feathers on a vulture's head helps the bird "clean up" after a messy meal.King vultures do not build nests. The female simply deposits her single egg in the hollow of a rotten tree trunk or in a crack caused by age or lightning. Both parents take turns incubating the egg. When hatched, King vulture chicks have no feathers, but soon are covered with a white down. They do not acquire their adult plumage until they are 18 months old.While they have very keen eyesight, King vultures have a poor sense of smell. They often rely on other vulture species to locate food. Much larger and stronger than other vultures, the King vulture is useful to the others because it is capable of tearing open tough skin. When other vultures have found carrion, a King vulture or two often arrive and immediately dominate the carcass--hence the name "King."King vultures will sometimes glide in wide circles for long periods, spying on their domain below and searching for food. By making perfect use of the air currents, vultures are able to soar for hours at a time, without once flapping their wings. Darren Kelly was the production editor, Nancy Crumpton was the copyeditor, and Jan Fehler was the proofreader for SpamAssassin. Reg Aubry and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Nancy Crumpton provided production services and wrote the index.Ellie Volckhausen designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Emma Colby produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.Melanie Wang designed the interior layout, based on a series design by David Futato. This book was converted by Andrew Savikas to FrameMaker 5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. The tip and warning icons were drawn by Christopher Bing. This colophon was written by Darren Kelly.
This is a book for anyone who wants to know what is under the hood. This books details what is behind the engine, its architecture and its learning system. While it is leaning more heavily in the mail transfer agent (MTA) side, it still offers a lot of tips to readers as to how one can use SpamAssassin to combat junk mail. The Autowhitelisting and Bayesian Filtering are a must for those who really want to know how to use the tool. This is what makes it different from other keyword based filtering. This would be a great book for those who run and maintain their own mailing server, because it has lots of details for sendmail, postfix, exim and qmail.
Although the author has a section on pop mail configuration, I would like to see more client configuration examples such as outlook express or Novell's evolution/Ximian, or kmail. This is because not everybody runs email server at home. Nonetheless, this is a great book for those who want to set up their own spam mail filters and get rid of those annoying junk mail. Additionally, the author provides a very detailed list of resources.